It has been six months since we started our company-wide initiative with Skype. Throughout this time everyone has settled in and found different ways for Skype to help enrich their work experience. We regularly call remote employees into meetings from the conference room, and individually are able to connect with each other whenever necessary. As has been discussed in previous posts, using Skype this past six months has not been without its difficulties. However, it has an important step in helping us improve communication with remote employees.
After six months, some of the novelty of the technology has worn off. I think everyone has settled in with the technology and has their own personal preferences for when to designate a conversation “video-conference” worthy versus sending an instant message or e-mail. I think we all need to continue to experiment with Skype, especially as new features are added, and encourage each other to continue using it.
Here is a little re-cap of some of our best practices and tips for using Skype for business…
- Get a quality webcam – a higher quality picture will help remove some of the distraction of the medium and make the conversation feel more “face-to-face”.
- Check the positioning of your camera to achieve a shot comparable to “eye level”. Avoid having to angle your camera too much, you don’t want to be looking up or down at someone.
- Make certain you check all your settings before you start calling, especially if you are going to be making business calls, to help eliminate issues with microphones and video. For example, you might want to do a test-run calling a co-worker before you start calling clients or business partners.
- Be aware of the environment you are in when using Skype—whatever is behind/around you may be showing up in your video.
- If you use a wireless headset make sure you keep it charged- so you don’t lose sound when a call comes in.
- Don’t feel like you need to have a major conversation to warrant a video conference, using it to ask quick questions will help you make using Skype a habit
- Try using Skype for both scheduled video-conference meetings, as well as impromptu video calls
- Utilize features such as screen sharing – this adds to the quality of a video conference, when everyone involved is looking at the same thing
- Staying logged in while at work will improve accessibility. Set your status as “away” or “busy” if you are unable to answer a call, just remember to switch it back when you are available.
- Make sure to check your recent activity if you have been away from your desk or involved in another task, to see if you’ve missed calls or messages.
Stay tuned for future posts on our experience with Skype for business.